BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Authorities say a cab driver was killed and one other person suffered minor injuries in a multiple-vehicle crash Monday morning on Interstate 494 in Bloomington.
The Minnesota State Patrol responded to the crash, which involved seven vehicles, including a semi, at about 5:01 a.m. on westbound Interstate 494 at France Avenue.
The Minnesota State Patrol said a vehicle being driven by Isidoro Burgos-Corona, 49, of Minneapolis, was stalled in the right lane of westbound 494 near Penn when three vehicles crashed behind Corona’s car.
Eric Roeske with the State Patrol said the vehicles were in the right lane on the highway when the cab slowed down for the crash in the lanes ahead. The cab was rear-ended and pushed into the middle lane of the interstate, where it was then hit by a semi-truck, killing the driver.
The driver was identified as 57-year-old Nadir Ombabi, of Burnsville. Nine people total were involved in the crash. David Paul, 64, of Minneapolis, suffered non-life threatening injuries. No one else was injured in the crash.
Lt. Roeske says the crash was triggered because Burgos-Corona ran out of gas. He says it was entirely preventable.
“We’re not out in the middle of nowhere. Especially in the metro area, just about every corner has a gas station on it,” Roeske said. “There really is no excuse for running out of gas.”
Gemeh Eshmewy, who employed Ombabi at his taxi company, says he has lost a friend and a hard worker who was always on time.
“I feel very said, actually, for losing a very good friend. A very, very good, respectable person he was. One of the best drivers I ever had,” Eshmewy said.
Ombabi emigrated from Sudan, where he was a family physician. He was working on getting certified as a medical doctor in the U.S.
Ombabi was very active in his Sudanese community in the Twin Cities. He also had a wife in Africa, and he’d often send back money to help his family.
Ombabi’s friends had just celebrated a religious holiday with him on Sunday night. Now they’re planning a memorial service in his honor.
Lt. Roeske said Burgos-Corona was arrested for driving without a license and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has put an immigration hold on him.
According to Minnesota state records, Burgos-Corona was charged several times in the past for driving without a license, driving after revocation and driving without insurance.
The Minnesota State Patrol said the westbound lanes of I-494 had to be closed for several hours Monday morning while the accident was investigated and reconstructed. All lanes reopened to traffic shortly after 9 a.m.